Crossing the Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia is said to be a risky business for sea-sick types. Happily the airborne route is ‘’too easy’’. Leaving the delights of the Fringe Festival in Adelaide behind us, my travel companion Amy and I touched down in the state capital of Hobart with a week to explore the beautiful green island of Tassie.
Arriving on a Tuesday, our travel plan consisted of hammering up the Tasmanian highway to Devonport in the north and working our way back down towards Hobart in the south for the weekend. However, being rather ‘laissez-faire’ about it all we failed to pay sufficient attention to map dimensions and quickly discovered that Tasmania is not only deceptively large, but also has surprisingly twisty roads.
Pulling up to Devonport, a rather grueling three-and-a-half-hours later, we gratefully left our hire car (‘Nina’ the Nissan) to rest in a car park and headed to our hostel.
Unfortunately, the couple of seconds it took for us to race our bags upstairs and head back to the restaurant proved a step too far and the chef had gone home.
Undefeated, Amy ate a Mars bar while I attempted to cook a curry from scratch using the hostel’s microwave. An exploratory walk the next morning forced us to agree with the guidebook: there isn’t all that much to do in Devonport. Heading off in the vague direction of Launceston, we then committed traveller’s sacrilege by abandoning our mission to see the famous Wineglass Bay.
By the time we reached the outskirts of what turned out to be a national park charging an entrance fee, I was simply too car sick to carry on. Not wanting to ruin Nina forever, we stopped at one of the many gorgeous secluded bays and went for a wobbly walk to shake off the motion sickness. This turned into a cheeky swim followed by a blissful lunch and we arrived at our hostel just before dark.
Accommodated above a giant pub, we soon became absorbed in the competition between late night karaoke at ‘ours’ and next door’s bingo. Drinks imbibed, songs screeched, bingo lost but friends gained, we happily fell asleep in bunks that vibrated to the beat of the continuous party.
After sampling Launceston’s ample shopping and restaurant scene, we spent the following afternoon driving through lush countryside to Hobart.
As it was Friday, we were keen to hit the town and soon came across a suitably busy venue to get acquainted with the local “Hobartians”.
After sampling the local ale – Ragged Jack and Little Hell to name a few – we stumbled upon an Irish pub where profuse amounts of Guinness flowed and a cover band played Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. And just as I was about to abandon all hope of ever getting served at the bar, a gloriously-attractive guy appeared beside me. Sweeet!
With a flirty wink he handed me a Sambuca with a Cascade’s Premium Lager chaser. After toasting our fortuitous meeting, we soon became engaged in a fun but slightly intense competition of who could shout the best innuendo at the other over the music. Much later on, as we made our tipsy way back to our hostel on the hill, Amy and I agreed that Hobart had made an extremely good first impression.
Our positivity toward the green Isle increased over the course of the weekend. Hobart itself is a beautiful harbour town. Don’t leave Tassie out of your travels!